By Jan Lawerance
The thirty-sixth season of the museum began this past week with a freshly scrubbed environment and a delightful presentation of “The Navajo Collection of Barbara Louise Gentry” donated by Barbara’s brother Ray Gentry. An incredible array of visitors were greeted by many of the board members, who proudly discussed elements of the museum as well as the special exhibit.
On display is a two-sided pegboard made by former member Jim Tweed. One side says: “We’re moving!” On it is the architect’s rendering of the future Community Center complex. It will be located above Lake Louise where the previous Community Center was. The new footprint is considerably larger. Included are the following: a kitchen, a banquet hall/community room, a classroom suitable for small programs, meetings, etc., a museum, enclosed display cases, covered porch, office, utility area, storage room,and bathroom complex including two family restrooms as well as a standard women’s and men’s.
In the upper area to the north where the old pool was located will be a recreation area with tennis courts and other areas for families to enjoy. The complexes are connected by walking paths, including one that comes up the hill on the northeast side from the parking lot found twenty-five feet below the main building complex. The entire area is remarkably designed for the pleasure of Weavervillians and guests alike.
On the second side of the pegboard is a sign “Our New Home.” Below it is the architectural rendering of the elevation for the front of the museum and the layout. When rocks and unique wood were salvaged from the original building, the plan was to incorporate those in the new complex. Those have been included. The museum has an entrance accessible from the outside so it can be open when the remainder of the building complex is not. The tentative plans are for the museum to have expanded days and hours, to be announced. The internal footage of the museum will provide space for six to eight vignettes showing displays of elements of life in the Reems Creek and Flat Creek Townships. Extra panels will be rotated to show other interesting facts, people and places. Provisions are being made for a centrally located timeline of the area. The museum board is thrilled with the anticipation of a museum space designed to be a museum for the first time in its history!
The Town Council will vote on a budget at its April 15th meeting. If it is approved, then the museum will begin to implement plans to include storage, moving and the new museum. Here are the tentative plans for the move. The display cases will be transferred to The Community Room of Town Hall in September. The essence of the archives will be moved to the Western Office of the NC Archives located on Riceville Road in Asheville to be stored in a climate-controlled secure environment. The family histories in filing cabinets will be accessible at 24 Sugar Cove Road, Weaverville, by appointment during the interim period (828-658-3934). The remainder of the museum items will be stored at a location to be determined. When our new space is ready, we plan a spectacular Grand Opening. We anticipate leaving the library space by the end of September 2019 and opening in 2020 above Lake Louise.
We are thrilled the Town of Weaverville places a value on the preservation of its heritage and the conservation of artifacts relevant to that heritage. Most towns of our size do not have museums. We are optimistic about this special opportunity and grateful to be planning for it. We feel Weaverville and the area are fortunate to have a museum of its quality. We thank Nell Pickens and Josephine Osborne, Marjorie and Paul Smith and The Tribe of Jacob for their vision. There are many more to be included in the credit and at the appropriate time that will be done. Please come by the museum between now and September and ask to be involved. It’s fun! Also, keep following us on Facebook!
Editor’s note: This was part three in a three-part series.